UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, September 24, 2012

1978: The Year When Ufology Went Crazy


Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc. 
ufo24.jpg
Spending a few days going through relatively old UFO magazines, like that above [UFO Report, June 1977], I was surprised to note that up to 1978, such magazines took a moderated stance on UFOs; that is, they were rather subdued and sensible, generally, about UFO and UFO sightings.

For instance, in the issue of UFO Report pictured above there was a mea culpa from Gray Barker for screwing up the locale pf a UFO sighting in a story he had done in the magazine (previously); a paean to Ray Palmer by John Keel, who excoriated the UFO-ET proponents and internecine sniping amongst UFO mavens; and Charles Bowen’s Saucer Central, International had several UFO sightings that were intriguing, including two that involved helmeted beings with insect eyes [Page 80].

The September 1977 UFO Report had a panoply of “monsters” and weird beings spotted near or emerging from UFOs, the article by Peter Guttilla [Page 32 ff.] The accounts were presented in a sober fashion.

That issue of UFO Report also had a blip by anthropologist Margaret Mead writing that UFOs were real and should be investigated by scientists and other professionals.

Dell’s Flying Saucers/UFO Reports [1967] highlighted the hoaxed Zanesville (barber) photo and
Official UFO [November 1976] had one of a continuing series by Jerome Clark and the late Lucius Farish about the 1890’s airship sightings.

Yet most magazines through 1977 were rather judicious with their UFO stories, but then with the 1978 (and onward) issues, things changed,

Beyond Reality [April 1978], fraught with many typos and errors, had a letter from Stanton Friedman, from when he was located in California. Mr. Friedman was hawking a reprint of his article about Marjorie Fish’s analysis of the Betty Hill star map: $2.50 for one and $1.00 if 25 or more were ordered.

And BR had this piece [Page 66]:
br78.jpg
Two young boys reported they saw a UFO as drawn (above).

In 1978, the year that Roswell was resurrected, ostensibly by Stanton Friedman’s contact with Jesse Marcel, Sr. whom he allegedly corrupted (per skeptics) with an insinuation that Marcel had actually gathered, not balloon debris but, flying saucer crash parts in 1947.

After that Friedmanian thrust, all things, no matter how crazy, were on the UFO table.

Magazines and the UFO community – so-called ufologists mostly – then started to sensationalize UFO accounts and reports.

From UFO Updates -- magazine, not the web-site -- [Fall 1979]:

Florida Inn State of Near Panic
UFOs Invade Bolivia
Flying Objects Play Havoc in Kentucky

UFO Reports [May 1978]:

Farmer (Billy Meier) Offers Photo Proof of Contact with Aliens
The UFO Base 40 Miles from the White House
The Super Science of the Ancients

True Flying Saucers & UFOs Quarterly [Summer 1978]:

The Real Truth Behind Those Terrifying East Coast Booms
Little People from the Planet Omni

Ideal’s UFO Magazine #2 [June 1978]:

Military Bases Under Siege by UFOs
USOs – Mysterious Objects Sighted Beneath the Seas
The American Midwest: Target for UFOs
Viking 1’s Evidence: Space Aliens are on Mars

ideal24.jpg

Yes, some FS and UFO magazines also pumped up their stories, but not in as sensational way as those after 1977 did.

Why did 1978 become the red-line for UFO craziness?

I think that the spurt in nuttiness derived from the public’s ennui about UFOs and those who had staked their lives and careers on the mysterious phenomenon – Friedman, Clark, Stieger,  et al. – who wanted to, who needed to, capitalize on UFOs.

After all, they had sunk their earning power and life-styles by zeroing in on UFOs and needed to recoup their lost revenues, their lost respect as solid reporters and investigators, and their lost status as rational members of society.

UFOs needed to be seen as harbingers of extraterrestrial visitation or dangerous intrusions that needed to be watched out for, to save humanity from dire consequences.

Stanton Friedman’s UFO ploy was to create, for him, an income that he lost when he quit being a reputable outer space physicist.

The other members of the ufological gang hyped UFOs, with the complicity of the magazines cited here, Fate among them, in the hope of making some money or the hope of becoming famous, in ways more than that proffered by Andy Warhol: fifteen minutes of notoriety.

Some have achieved a kind of fame – but only from within the cloistered halls of ufology, a lonely, loony segment of the normal, general society and community.

The magazines noted show that, after 1977, a kind frenetic attempt to make UFOs a viable element of societal discourse came into play.

Unfortunately, the sensationalizing of UFOs killed the phenomenon as a serious topic for discussion or study.

Some ufologists still grasp at the straws of fame and fortune but, like the magazines that they exploited and which exploited them, they are non-entities in the American and World discourse; that is, no one cares.

UFOs were once intriguing, as were those who followed the phenomenon. Today, that’s not the case.

Ufologists and their magazines killed UFOs as a serious topic.

RR

45 Comments:

  • The 'revival' may have been due to the movie "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind" which was released about that time. Don't know the exact month & year.

    I think the Bermuda Triangle took off that year also, or shortly before. Berlitz & Moore then followed it with "The Philadelphia Experiment". The public was well and truly hooked.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • cda is on to something, but it goes further than Close Encounters. Another piece in the puzzle is the coverage given by National Enquirer. The magazines may have been forced to get wilder just to stay competitive.

    By Blogger carddown, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • Close Encounters....appeared in November 1977 and did create a big interest in UFOs.

    But not in a derogatory way, as the magazines did.

    The sub-culture -- ufology -- failed to capitalize on Close Encounters by being loopy rather than sensate or decorous.

    The ufologists fell all over themselves turning UFOs into a much crazier circus than that of the early 1950s (when the contactee crowd took control of flying saucers).

    RR

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • I've noticed the same trend and view the late 70s as a sea-change.

    It could be, in part, down to the increased commercialisation of the subject. I mean it always had a commercial presence but by the late '70s was on a more professional footing regarding promotion and sales. Not just in UFOs either, it was ghosts, life after death and BS like Bermuda Triangles.

    As a media pro, you could probably cite some book sale figures to support or dismiss the idea.

    Whatever lay behind the change, all these open possibilities of crashed aliens, vanishing Aussie pilots and allegedly disappearing ships seem to have cleared the way for the '80s excesses.

    'Ufologists and their magazines killed UFOs as a serious topic.'

    Possibly true and I wouldn't argue too strongly against the idea. On the other hand, if ufologists weren't banging the drum would anyone else be listening?

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • Kandinsky:

    If ufologists had tapped a tamborin rather than bongos, maybe UFOs wouldn't be the joke they are.

    But your point is well-taken.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • Rich, I honestly don't know where else ufologists could have gone. Given the available information, some have tried every angle imaginable.

    I hesitate in even using 'ufologist' as some have been much more than that and the title doesn't do them justice.

    Beyond all the silliness(and bongos)in ufology be fair and acknowledge that a minority of those pursuing the interest have done their best.

    Who really knows? Maybe one day we'll know more.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • You're right Kandinsky,

    Some UFO mavens, the subliminal hobbyists, further the UFO cause.

    It's those UFO show-offs that have ruined the topic.

    John Keel covers the territory in the magazine noted above, and came to the same conclusion in 1977.

    I tried to narrow my rant to those who've tried for fame and fortune as opposed to those who are truth-seekers, without pay or notoriety.

    You and the rest of us know who has "screwed the pooch" as the current vernacular has it.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • FWIW, 1977 was the year UFO witness Jimmy Carter became president. cda's mention of CEOTTK is certainly valid. I'm sure there is no one reason but a few.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • The import of my posting, Frank, is that before 1978 UFO mags and UFO hobbyists were more judicious and moderate, generally, in their presentations and analyses of UFOs.

    In 1978 onward UFO mavens, magazines, and ufologists started to sensationalize UFO sightings (Roswell among them).

    That is, UFOs sightings and events were made more dramatic, more sensational -- past and present UFO sightings.

    Why? That's the point I'm trying to discern.

    I think it's as I've stated: ufologists were striving to keep the matter alive and worthwhile (in a monetary sense).

    Let's not get off track here, as often happens at Kevin Randle's blog when he presents material and it gets side-barred so commenters can do their ego thing.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • Of course money always talks when it comes to business but nothing happens in a vacuum. Those publishers made a read on what would bring them more money. CEOTTK was a popular film but the same year Star Wars came out which not only made more money but became a genuine cultural phenomenon. It was certainly a more fantastical tale. That may have made some impression.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • The time period was soooo boring that I guess some magazines and ufologists felt it was time to stir things up.

    In so doing, however, they made UFOs so outrageous that the public, science, and academia set UFOs aside and, as mentioned, they took on an Enquirer patina from which they have never recovered.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • RR:

    You wrote:

    “Why did 1978 become the red-line for UFO craziness?

    “I think that the spurt in nuttiness derived from the public’s ennui about UFOs and those who had staked their lives and careers on the mysterious phenomenon – Friedman, Clark, Stieger, Randle, et al. – who wanted to, who needed to, capitalize on UFOs.

    “After all, they had sunk their earning power and life-styles by zeroing in on UFOs and needed to recoup their lost revenues, their lost respect as solid reporters and investigators, and their lost status as rational members of society.”

    I suggest this allegation is inaccurate, at least for me. After serving on active duty with the Air Force in 1976, I applied for and was hired as a “presentations writer” for Rockwell International. I stayed in that job until my writing paid more than the job at Rockwell, which were books about things other than UFOs. I was also serving in the Air Force Reserve at that time. In other words, my sources of income had almost nothing to do with UFOs and everything to do with other occupations. At one point in the mid-1980s, I was publishing about one book a month, none of which had to do with UFOs

    My earning power had almost nothing to do with UFOs, and everything to do with what you might think of as a “real job,” my service with the Air Force, and writing action-adventure books for a number of publishers.

    I have never had a need to... ”recoup… lost revenues…” by writing about UFOs. The alternatives were in place. I find your allegation offensive, untrue and mean spirited. My income has never depended on writing about UFOs. And to prove this point, following is a listing of all my magazine articles published from 1977 to 1990. See for yourself. After that I did a number of articles for IUR and the MUFON UFO Journal, neither of which paid. FYI: My first UFO book was published in 1989.


    Published Magazine Articles between June 1977 and April 1990

    27. Helicopter War Combat Illustrated Jun 1977
    28. The Pineville UFO Flap Argosy UFO Winter 1977
    29. The Siberian Explosion Quest Winter 1977
    30. The Family Kidnaped by UFOs UFO Report Winter 1977
    31. The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle
    Explained Argosy Mar 1978
    32. Night Mission Over Vietnam Combat Illustrated Fall 1978
    33. Jack Webb and His Television UFOs True FS & UFO Fall 1978
    34. A Closer Look at UFO Occupants True FS & UFO Fall 1978
    35. Give Them All a Silver Star Combat Illustrated Winter 1978
    36. Tracking the Missouri UFOs True FS & UFO Spring 1979
    37. Bunker Duty Combat Illustrated Spring1979
    38. What Really Happened to Gary Powers Air Classics Quarterly Apr 1979
    39. The Minnesota UFO Wave True FS & UFO Sum 1979
    40. They Did What They Had To Combat Illustrated Winter 1979
    41. Future War Combat Illustrated Feb 1980
    42. Give Them All a Silver Star Men At War Special Jan 1980
    43. The Truth About the 1957 UFO Wave UFO Sightings Winter 1980
    Reprint of Earlier article.
    44. Give Them All a Silver Star Air Progress Sum 1981
    45. Santa Anna's Signal Military History Apr 1985
    46. The Fetterman Massacre Military History Aug 1986
    47. Santa Anna's Signal Great Battles 1987
    48. The Fetterman Massacre Great Battles 1987
    49. UFO Explodes Over Las Vegas UFO Universe Sum 1989
    50. Roswell, July 9, 1947 IUR* Dec 1989
    51. Fort Worth, July 8, 1947:
    The Cover-up Begins IUR

    By Blogger KRandle, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • KR:

    I stand somewhat corrected.

    But you write, "My income has never depended on writing about UFOs."

    My point was that ufologists, of which you are one, hoped that their income would come from their UFO obsession.

    That it did not do so, except for Friedman perhaps, is unfortunate.

    But the pursuit of UFOs in ever more ways with ever more energy, and sensationalized reports after 1977 goes to what I see as efforts that killed UFOs for the public and the more moderate among UFO mavens.

    That is the legacy that some ufologists have left in their wake.

    That you insist you are not part of that crowd, I accept, and I have emended my copy accordingly.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 24, 2012  

  • Stanton F is an interesting case. A physicist who, at one time, was involved in various cutting edge avionics projects. Unlike Kevin R who
    pursued his studies of the phenomenon, while receiving income from gainful employment, Stanton appears to have simply burned his professional bridges, to create his public persona as a "expert." I find this turning point of his to be lacking a back story, so I wrote him. His first response was "Why do you want to know?" I gave him my reasons and his response was to provide a proverbial resume of his successes in his "private practice" and that his sole reason for ditching his career was that no one took the topic of UFO's seriously. It was a response that struck me as lacking what is I sought, which was the back story of his radical career change that I presume was undertaken at a personal financial and professional risk. I find the whole psychology of this fascinating, to leave the cutting edge of science ( by his account) to undertake being an "expert" on fringe phenomenon. A evangelical on the subject that promoted the Roswell sink hole, the MJ-12 sink hole, etc. There is a sort of impression I have of him as someone seeking recognition as a cross between taking on a role as a self promoting PT Barnum branded stylist of UFO boosterism and cutting a niche into dead ends at the same time. I think he led curiosity off a cliff into a populist mythology full of holes.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    Your curiosity mimics my own regarding Mr. Friedman.

    Why abandon a prestigious, real job to pursue a goofy (at the time and still) phenomenon with no employment cachet or overt monetary rewards?

    He has made some dough doing the UFO things -- one of the few in UFOs who has -- but I can't imagine the rewards have been lucrative.

    It' strange, almost as strange as UFOs.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Paul K gave a good personal insight into the gist of the majority of what was tagged "Ufology", that it was more sociology than science ( leaving out the psychology). I contacted Stanton F during a period that found me mulling over a essay on thirty one flavors of the first string of "The Ufology Experts"
    ..Adamski,Stanton,Hynek, Keel, Vallee, Michel..and hi-lighting the personal contrasts between them. Why? Who had the greater ( and lesser) influence on the sociology of the time? It seems the positivists won hands down. The less self critical and balanced the views were, it seemed to me, the more popular ( hence influential) they were. Critical thinking ( or lack thereof) in this context of their audience was to be the subject. The audience to the "experts" accepted their expertise..in unqualified terms, which grew into a second generation via a internet quagmire of "Experts" on "alien abductions"..However now the audience now became virtual unqualified participants in the story. The rise of this sociology movement falls into the hands of what are termed experts. The phenomenon itself became the back story.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Surely Keyhoe was the originator of it all. Possibly Ray Palmer was another, but with a different angle.

    Stanton Friedman more or less took over from Keyhoe (nuts and bolts ET theme) but with a scientific background. Keyhoe was in the Marines and then became an aviation fiction writer. Friedman was a nuclear physicist and hence, in the popular vision, a much more qualified person to pontificate on UFOs. But, as with Keyhoe, it was merely a continuation of the official cover-up hypothesis.

    I do wonder if Keyhoe would have been taken in by MJ-12 and Roswell. I like to think he would have not, but you never can tell. Keyhoe was still alive when Roswell hit the fan but to my knowledge he never mentioned it.

    Friedman has always struck me as a guy who likes to promote himself - every book and paper of his has the description "nuclear physicist" on the cover. From this the public are to suppose that a nuclear physicist has far more credibility when writing about UFOs than those in other fields. In other words, we are to assume Friedman really knows what he is talking about. (If only!)

    Is that the impression Bruce has of Friedman?

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • CDA

    What struck me over a period of time was the disconnect between his scientific training as opposed to the
    manner in which he came to his fairly steadfast conclusions, as if one bolstered the other with no qualms expressed, to explain this sort of died in the wool boosterism, which seemingly led him down a path as an one who promoted himself and inferred his expertise as a scientist was a calling card on the subject, and yet he simply produced more than innuendo, he misdirected quite a few people into dead ends, all of which I find very odd and ( as yet )unexplained to my own satisfaction.
    I seemed to be one of a few who found him to be oddly defensive regarding his forays into adding his credibility to extremely marginal aspects of the phenomenon ( yes, a good defense is a good offense)and as Rich said "It's strange, almost as strange as UFOs." I concur but have no real explanation for the intriguing case of Stanton F. My impression is of someone in over their head who boxed themselves into a intellectual corner due to their relentless self promotional shtick.
    This abandonment of pure science for what reasonably could be called fictions ( unless proved otherwise) and doing it so vehemently..leaves in it's wake, a lot of open ended questions for me.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Greetings,

    It is clear for me that Stanton Friedman uses consciously or not a sort of "autority argument" (I'm a nuclear scientist) and then, it could biaising the "Public" with this well known bias in Social Psychology. One of his leitmotiv is to present in repeat mode the Battelle Special Report n°14 and I feel him "impressioning" the public with statistics.

    Yes, I'm amazed whe he presents Battelle Special Report Number 14 "dataes" claiming in short "that it supports the ETH and Debunkers (Skeptics) must read it". I'm amazed how he uses and makes speeches and lectures regarding the different tables and the use of the Chi-2. I have devoted a long subject in our French forum regarding it and the Chi-2.

    Bu here, allow me only to repeat what the Report states REALLY:
    First, The Battelle statisticians, warned and EMPHAZED the readers and were clear as spring water:

    “…the danger lies in the possibility of forgetting the subjectivity of the data at the time that conclusions are drawn from the analysis. It must be emphasized, again and again, that the conclusions contained in this report are based NOT on facts, but on what many observers thought and estimated the true facts to be.”

    If they knew! It is EXACTLY what our Nuclear Scientist is doing and then abusing the "Public".

    Later and secondly for here, in the conclusion, the scientists stated and EMPHAZED:

    “It is emphasized that there was a complete lack of any valid evidence consisting of physical matter in any case of a reported unidentified aerial object.

    Thus, the probability that any of the UNKNOWNS considered in this study are “flying saucers: is concluded to be extremely small, since the most complete and reliable reports from the present data, when isolated and studied, conclusively failed to reveal even a rough model, and since the data as a whole failed to reveal any marked patterns or trends.

    Therefore, on the basis of this evaluation of the information, it is considered to be highly improbable that any of the reports of unidentified aerial objects examined in this study represent observations of technological developments outside the range of present day scientific knowledge.”

    In essence, with all due respects, I think Mister Friedman is abusing readers and listeners, consciously or not, dunno, when he gives lectures here or there about the SP n°14.

    Regards,

    Gilles.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Merci Gilles....

    Stanton Friedman has always presented his views from the Mountain of Authority.

    In his Letter to Beyond Reality UFO readers (noted in my posting), hawking his wares, he opens it with this:

    "As the only space scientist known to devoting full time to UFOs and as the first scientist anywhere to publish an article about Marjorie Fish's" star map...

    This in 1978.

    Bruce Duensing smells something about Mr. Friedman.

    Perhaps someone -- Nick Redfern? -- can invoke a FOIA request to see why Mr. Friedman gave up his job(s) as a nuclear physicist.

    Paul Kimball, a nephew of Friedman may know, but is probably not inclined to get into such sour waters.

    That Mr. Friedman has been such a dedicated and obsessed follower of the UFO phenomenon is curious; a matter to be admired or to be questioned.

    Mr. Friedman is one of UFOs "sacred cows" as it were, and seeking reasons for his UFO deployment will bring down the wrath of sycophants surely.

    But he is, after all, the one person who has created the ET patina for the phenomenon, more so than any other person, at least as media and the public see it.

    He's open to scrutiny accordingly.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • If Gilles will allow me to expound on his thoughts regarding Friedman, followers of such individuals display the all too prevelent "appeal to authority" in the hopes of validating there personal point of view.

    Going back to Rich's post, the 70s was an odd decade. The music scence was extremely poor, ie rock-n-roll was dull, disco was an utter disgrace to this former head banger. My college professors were equally odd and dull. What has this to do with UFOs? I believe that the ambiance of the decade totally influenced. everything in society's fabric.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • And Tim, that lassitude provoked the spurt of activity that ensued. in various elements of society, the UFO community included.

    Some exploited the situation and by so doing besmirched the phenomenon further.

    Admittedly, UFOs were a tainted issue well before 1978, but the sensationalizing of UFO reports after 1978 exacerbated the nonsense element endemic to UFO and flying saucers.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • For some of us the 70s totally rocked, and 1978 was one of the best years in my humble life (and UFOs had nothing to do with it). The only time that rocked harder is the early 80s (again, UFOs were irrelevant then).

    Life and culture, in general, turned incredibly weird and boring in the 90s and have stayed that way. I don't think it's an accident that this raveling to threadbare of our cultural fabric coincides with the rise in personal technology.

    Today, when you're in the company of others socially, it's quite common for nobody to be actually "present" with you. Any beep or vibration from a personal device takes precedence over face-to-face interaction within the group. What electronic stimulus-driven zombies we've let our consumer culture turn us into.

    Sorry for the digression from UFOs, but I think it's all tied together somehow -- just don't know how, though.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Geez PG...

    You rarely go off topic, but this was a real digression....well sort of.

    The social disconnect seems to have taken control of society.

    Maybe the UFO mish-mash is symptomatic.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • I think a stimulus now just must be over-the-top in order to grab our fleeting attention, and our attention spans are growing ever shorter daily. And, we seem to respond far more readily to empty sensationalism, especially when it comes at us from a personal device.

    Maybe that relates to Ufology; maybe not. Shrug.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Unless, PG, there's a massive, unique UFO sighting -- something more than the Phoenix fiasco -- UFOs will remain moribund outside the UFO cliques.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Ufology doesn't exist outside the wider culture and it doesn't escape the impact of what's currently got that culture in a death grip.

    The National Geographic survey done this year in conjunction with its disastrous Chasing UFOs showed that belief in UFOs among the US population has dropped significantly from its mid-90s high when The X-Files was at its peak. Meanwhile, in the late 60s and early 70s (when the Vietnam War and racial unrest in our cities dominated our national zeitgeist) belief in UFOs had dropped to almost zilch.

    Now, when you can be a marauding space alien on your smart phone or tablet while riding the subway to work (and the CGI is so good you feel you're there), why would ethereal UFOs have much appeal? No wonder the younger generations have little interest in them.

    So Ufology keeps getting loopier to try to grab attention (spawning the whole alien abduction circus, IMO). And it's failing because the worlds we access via the electronic devices we hold in our hands are far more compelling than a craft in some MUFON case report.

    Oh yeah, let's not forget the culture of celebrity that has grown up in the last 20 years. The Kardashians are famous worldwide simply for being famous. Why would it be different for someone like Stan Friedman (who, incidentally, had former media kingpin Larry King as his biggest groupie)?

    Ufology is just a subculture. It's not UFOs. Just as religions are subcultures and not God. No matter what happens in or to the subculture and business of Ufology, UFOs will abide. And some of us will continue to wonder about them even if the only outlet for that is the privacy of our own minds.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Yep, PG...

    UFOs will continue to resonate with us long time UFO groupies.

    We can't let the mystery go. It's still fascinating for some of us.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • You guys should really watch my biopic of Stan, in which he's quite clear about why he left government work - the funding for the projects dried up. He continued to do scientific work on various consulting gigs over the years, even as his genuine interest in UFOs drew him more into that area (I might not agree with Stan on everything, but I can guarantee you that he's driven by a genuine passion for the subject; money is a secondary concern). It's not a mystery, and it's never anything that he's hidden.

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Thanks, Paul...

    That should quell all of our "Friedman Watergate" mentalities.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

  • Stan may be a "public figure" in that he earns his living in part through public appearances, but he's still a private citizen, not an elected official, and that means that he has the right to privacy when it comes to his own affairs if he wants it (like his career choices). He doesn't owe anybody any explanation, any more than I do (I won't answer questions in interviews about my personal life or my business affairs), or you do.

    We've devolved into a society of prurient self-loathers, always looking to bring someone else down in order to lift ourselves up, even as we seek the sun in someone else's smile. There's the real pathological behaviour, and it's manifestly unhealthy for us as individuals, and as a culture.

    Thus endeth the pontification! :-)

    Best,
    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • I have to disagree with you, somewhat, Paul.

    Stan, by putting himself forward, so religiously, opens the door to curiosity.

    Why?

    His private life isn't under scrutiny, here or anywhere else.

    It's his ufological life.

    Why he abandoned his career choice to pursue UFOs intrigues.

    It seems to be a loony decision.

    It's paid off for him apparently, but who would make UFOs their raison d'etre?

    Stan has placed himself in the line of fire, with his promotion of MJ-12, the Betty/Barney Hill story, and his "cosmic watergate" allegations.

    He's fair game, just as my loopy posts here are fair game, or your movies are fair game -- for critiques and/or evaluations.

    What you or I do off blog or internet, just like Stan, isn't fair game, but people still want to get a peek.

    It's part of the societal culture now.

    Like Zeus or Oedipus or Freud, Stan Friedman is a target for those wishing to understand behavior.

    Stan's total immersion into the UFO phenomenon is grist for those hoping to discover the allure that causes such immersion.

    It's not quite pathological but it is a neurotic obsession on our part, we who become obsessed with other person's obsessions.

    So you're right in a way....in a way.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • Rich,

    In the end, it has nothing to do with the subject of UFOs and the paranormal.

    I'm not ragging on you in particular. It's the hoi polloi that offend me, and their sense of entitlement when it comes to the details of the personal lives of people in the public spotlight. But as you say, that's the culture we live in now - The Society of the Spectacle, as Guy Debord called it.

    More's the pity. People should spend more time living authentic lives for themselves as opposed to trying to live through others.

    Best,
    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • Ah yes, I agree.

    Society lives vicariously through others, rather than indulging in a life of their own.

    But hasn't it always been that way?

    We are a lousy, messed-up species.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • Yes we are... but I still have hope.

    Hmm... this all sounds a lot like the final chapter of my book. :-)

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • You, Paul, are the perennial optimist.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • Do you think we might have strayed from the topic? Nothing unusual if we have!

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • No, Christopher,

    We're still on topic...Friedman is part of the reason UFOs ballooned into more craziness after 1977 and society has become loopier too (or seems to have).

    So, we're still on point: Ufology got crazy in 1978 and remains crazy.

    UFO notables, like Friedman, haven't help to curb the nuttiness and have actually exacerbated it.

    And paying attention to UFOs isn't mentally or practically sensible either.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • I am reasonably certain that Stanton has become a historical figure in the narrative under discussion. Like any historical and public figure, whether it is Jimmy Carter or Jimmy Page, most are curious to know, how choices were made, and what in their background formulated their the choices that were made. That in my book is not spurious behavior, rather it is an attempt to understand the story of whatever event or events took place. I cannot see how this quest to underpin public figures with a fleshing out can be construed as a personal attack. Of course, Stanton is not a relative of mine and if he were, I might not see it this way.
    While the funding might have dried up for projects he was working on, this is a common, routine process for research scientists. I have some in my own family. Normally, you don't change your profession on this basis. I did many a project in designs and I simply moved on for various reasons. I am not, by any means, trying to besmirch Stan personally or cast doubt. However, one has to accept this was an extraordinary decision that went against the career paths of the majority. Does not this create an interest in what informed this decision? I understand a certain defensiveness in a field full of snipers, but sometimes, curiosity is simply curiosity with no manipulative agenda lurking behind it. If an honest question is responded to by characterized by questioning the motives and character of the seeker, to me, this is defensive. Stanton is a major player with self vested authority, no one named him as much first and then he followed that path..he created his role. How that role came about is of historical interest to some. One might consider that these questions would clarify rather than obscure the entangled history of Ufology.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • Rabidly following Dancing with the Stars or American Idol isn't rational behavior either if you analyze it closely. Why does anybody watch The Real Housewives of (fill in the blank) or Honey Boo Boo (who outrated the RNC according to Neilsen)?

    We've become obsessed with anything that appears on a screen or monitor, no matter how empty, puerile, talentless, or brainless (and I'm NOT saying Stan Friedman is any of these; in fact, he's not).

    Just appearing on TV a few times is enough to grant both celebrity and credibility beyond all reasonable expectation in our mindless society. How else would you explain The Kardashians?

    Me, I don't care how Friedman earns his money. I do wish he'd stop championing dead end and hoaxed UFO cases like Roswell and MJ-12. He's doing more harm than good there. Other than that, peace be with him and all his endeavors.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • PG:

    Stanton is pretty old now, and won't be with us forever.

    And when he's gone the UFO topic will be a lot less interesting. That's certain.

    So I guess we should allow his ufolocgical transgressions to lie fallow.

    They'll go with him when he strides the heavens.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 26, 2012  

  • Do you think ufology (assuming it went crazy in 1978) is crazier now than it was then?

    Or do you think ufology has, in essence, been crazy since it began in '47?

    Recall Adamski and the contactees.

    I am (just about) old enough to remember there was a favorable review of the Leslie/Adamski book "Flying Saucers Have Landed" in the UK newspaper THE OBSERVER, in October 1953. THE OBSERVER was, and still is, a quality newspaper in Britain.

    And the review covered Adamski's portion more than Leslie's.

    With luck, you may still be able to find this review.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, September 27, 2012  

  • Because flying saucers were a unique phenomenon in the late 40s and early 50s, one would think the patina of their reportage would be crazier than now (or after 1977).

    But that wasn't, as you know Christopher, the case.

    The accounts of FS sightings were rather sober, moderated.

    The phenomenon was treated respectfully, although some of the progenitors of those sightings were not.

    News Media had fun with them.

    Today's sightings are rather prosaic and dull, so some (mostly ufologists) pump them up, sensationalize aspects, elements of the sightings.

    The person's reporting the sightings are usually given short shrift.

    One would think that is more objective or scientific: the phenomenon is being studied instead of the observer of the phenomenon.

    But UFOs are dependent upon the obrserver. And maybe even created by the observer -- in a number of ways (many elucidated here).

    What happened was that ufologists, seeing UFOs sinking in interest after the Condon Report and a devolution in startling sightings, created an aura of excitement about the lousiest of sightings, just to hype the phenomenon, for the reasons indicated in my post, above (money, fame, ego).

    The craziness came, in 1978 on, from the craziness, the insanity of UFO mavens.

    The early contactees, and even such stalwarts as Kenneth Arnold (or Ray Palmer -- I should try to include John Keel's paean) reported flying saucers in a way that was literary, almost poetic.

    Not like the schlock we find today on blogs or web-sites or at UFO UpDates, nor as the magazines provided in 1978 onward.

    So, no....the early UFO era wasn't crazy in the same way as it became after 1977, and remains so today.

    The difference is really the presentations about UFOs.

    Today the topic is maintained by people who are looking to acquire fame or notoriety, like the contactees of the 50s, but today's UFOnites don't have the panache or creative abilities of their forebears.

    Today's UFO mavens are boring dullards, with little cachet.

    The craziness is inward, sneaky, and malevolent.

    The early craziness had an innocence and romantic quality.

    Not so today...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, September 27, 2012  

  • It's easier to hoax today and it's being done routinely. Any pre-pubescent kid with time on his hands and some tech skills (and that's almost all of them) can pull off a faked photo/video and post a made up story. In fact, many current UFO and abduction reports read much like the products of adolescent notions of what would punk an adult. Maybe that's why they're so boring.

    Unfortunately, the few real reports (because the real phenomenon is rare) are lost in the plethora of BS being posted and re-posted ad nauseum.

    It was a whole lot harder to get your UFO story out to the general public back in the days before we became an interactive electronic global village. It required more elegant creativity to get heard or even noticed, even if your story might not have been strictly true.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Thursday, September 27, 2012  

  • Those of us, PG, with an existent history know and understand this.

    That some UFO geezers are in a state of denial doesn't untrue it.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, September 27, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home